Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Happiness for Humans - P Z Reizin


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Three Things About Elsie - Joanna Cannon


There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?
From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.


What an unusual read this book is, so many facets to it and running through it a little whodunnit too. It's not often I read a book and think I'm so glad I got to read this story - but this is one of those books.

The book opens with Florence aged 84 lying on the floor of her flat wondering if anyone is going to find her. She begins to recount events from her life over the past 60 years and more recently at the Home for the Elderly that her flat is a part of. From time to time the narration leaves the events and comes back to the present day and Florence who is still lying on the floor.

Throughout the book we meet the people in Florence's life - of course Elsie, the people who work at the home and various other characters that she encounters through little jaunts. The description of her time in Whitby was wonderful. I know Whitby fairly well and I could tell the author did too, I was there with Florence and her friends walking along seeing what they saw in glorious colour.

The plot construction is marvellous but to say would give too much away as there is more than one secret to uncover in this utterly enchanting read - a glimpse into seeing things through someones older eyes.
You don't just get to see things through Florence's eyes though. There is also Simon the Handyman who makes discoveries of his own about his life and Miss Ambrose who has probably been on a course for whatever life throws at her, except her own life!

So many beautifully written and evocative sentences too. My favourite was "three generations of women balance their lives on top of each other, like tiers on a wedding cake". The battenburg cake on the cover is also a charming but sad part of the story too.

I could go on and on about this book, but really you just need to read it for yourself.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for an advance copy of the book which is out on 11 January 2018.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Covent Garden in the Snow - Jules Wake


Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Present - D S Devlin


12 deadly gifts, one killer on a Christmas countdown…
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… this is one deadly Christmas that you can’t forget.
The police are baffled by the ‘Santa’ killer, who sends his intended victims gruesome presents based on the twelve days of Christmas. When a young journalist receives a mutilated bird in the post, it’s a race against time to find the killer…


After reviewing the "other" book called The Present a few days ago I've now read the one I intend to. My review for the chicklit version has gone up on the page for this crime novel though!

I'm not one for true crime and gory details and so those aspects of this book did not appeal to me, but it is written in such a homely way that it actually didn't seem as if those things were too real. This enabled me to just carry on reading and enjoy the whodunnit aspect of the novel.

It's only taken me a couple of readings to get through, as once I was hooked and I was so sure of who the "Santa" killer was I had to know I was right! At some point I did think no one would write a plot this obvious and so changed my mind, changed it back again and finally I had no idea!

Just to make it clear this is not someone murdering Santas', but someone using the Christmas song of 12 days of Christmas as clues to taunt the police each year, before eventually murdering a victim. As it takes place during Christmas he is dubbed the "Santa" killer.

You do need to suspend some disbelief that Anna the journalist would put herself in so much danger and be prepared to meet the "Santa" killer one on one. She does come out of it as one gutsy lady despite being petrified, and I was swept along with her descriptive exploits.

If this sounds like your sort of thing and you are not looking for the next big crime writer then it's a good read.

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book for review.

Monday, 4 December 2017

The Present - Charlotte Phillips


Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Art of Hiding - Amanda Prowse

The Art of Hiding by [Prowse, Amanda]


Saturday, 25 November 2017

All I ever wanted - Lucy Dillon


Eva is forty-four, nearly forty-five. She always knew marrying a much older man meant compromises, but she was sure it was worth it – until Mickey dies suddenly, leaving Eva with only his diaries and a voice in the back of her mind telling her that perhaps she's sacrificed more than she meant to.

While Nancy's parents negotiate their separation, the question of weekend contact is solved when her father volunteers his sister Eva's house. As spring turns to summer, a trust slowly begins to form between a little girl with a heartbreaking secret, and a woman who has realised too late that what she yearns for is the love of a child.


I have so many books to read and unfortunately this one slipped down the TBR pile. I really wish it hadn't because I have really loved reading this book, which was my first from Lucy Dillon but it won't be the last.

There are two threads to the story. One with Eva a widow with no children and the decision she faces whether or not to publish her late husbands diaries. The other Eva's brother and his wife decide to separate and the consequences for the children and the effects on them. Together with one of the parents trying to move on.

The star of the story is Nancy who her Mum calls fancy Nancy - something happens to her that is heartbreaking - I was rooting for Nancy throughout the book and could picture her clearly from the way she was described. 

I don't do spoilers, but there is a day when a calamity arises at Eva's house and the way it was written was just as good as any thriller - I was spellbound.

Although this is a chick lit type book there are such a range of subjects covered. The book does flip between Eva and Caitlin, this is done in a measured way though and I felt I knew exactly where I was in each of their stories. Not too many characters and I got to know all of them so well, I really didn't want it to end.

I did shed a few tears near the end of the book - it was just so moving and emotional, but not in a soppy way. So many different levels to the book, but I think if you really connected with the characters you would be hard pressed not to shed a tear.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book for review.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Greatest Hits - Laura Barnett


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Anything you do Say - Gillian McAllister


Gone Girl meets Sliding Doors in this edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly. But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home.
Is she being followed? She is sure it's him; the man from the bar who wouldn't leave her alone.
Hearing the steps speed up, Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps to lie motionless on the floor. Now Joanna has to make a decision: Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?


I think it was the reference to "Sliding Doors" that got my attention enough to want to read this book. It's clear from the beginning that the book follows that format with headers to chapters of Reveal and Conceal to distinguish which timeline of events you are reading about. Did Joanna "Reveal" what had happened that night, or did she "Conceal" it. I still got a little confused at times with which story line I was reading, but not for very long.

Unfortunately I think the Sliding Doors reference does this book a big injustice as it is such a powerful tale, one I really didn't want to carry on reading at times. A little like car crash tv - you don't want to look but you can't help yourself. So realistic and thought provoking, as the situation Joanna finds herself in - it could happen to anyone.  I'm still not sure what I would have done either.

All the characters are so believable they felt like people I've met and know, I could identify with them and some of their traits. They whole book plays out wonderfully and time and again I found myself thinking - all from those few minutes this happens. I will admit to shedding a few tears - especially at the end of the book. Who knew a thriller would have you crying?

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. I have the utmost respect for any one who can write a novel. But this is by far the best book I have read this year and I am in awe of Gillian's skill in telling this story - twice!.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Best Day Ever - Kaira Rouda


A loving husband. The perfect killer?

‘I wonder if Mia thinks I have a dark side. Most likely as far as she knows, I am just her dear loving husband.’
Paul Strom has spent years building his perfect life: glittering career, beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in the suburbs.
But he also has his secrets. That’s why Paul has promised his wife a romantic weekend getaway. He proclaims this day, a warm Friday in May, will be the best day ever.
Paul loves his wife, really, he does. But he also wants to get rid of her. And with every hour that passes, Paul ticks off another stage in his elaborately laid plan…

The book blurb tells us upfront that Paul is going to get rid of his wife, so no surprises there. I began reading the book, waiting to see how and when Paul was going to pull this off.

For about the first third of the book I wasn't really getting into the story. However, I was beginning to hate Paul with every fibre of my body as the pages went by. What a smug character he is. We are given flashbacks to exactly how Paul met his wife and subsequently married her with two children to follow. Flashbacks to Paul's office life and the brilliantly written HR scenes. Not hard to follow, nicely flowing in with the story line.

I began to wonder how did Mia stay with Paul when it seemed apparent what he was about i.e. himself and no one else. Surely she must have glimpsed his true character. Well as the book gets down to the action we realise just exactly why Mia didn't "cotton on" to Paul and makes him well and truly even more of a despicable person than I already had him pegged down as.

About the last quarter of the book, and literally all hell breaks loose. The action got very gritty and I was gripped, I really wanted to know how this was all going to end. Some clever twists and although I think the author dropped a couple of hints along the way the ending was still a good one.

That is why I personally didn't like that the book had an epilogue. I just don't think it needed it and I'm not sure I learnt anything new from it. Many a time I hate it when a book leaves you in mid air - but this time it was sewn up just a little too neatly.

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for a copy of the book to review.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Into the Water - Paula Hawkins


In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool . . .


After The Girl on the Train I couldn't wait for this book, hoping it would be just as good. I know a lot of people who did not get on with The Girl on the Train, which I just couldn't understand. So, I began to read the latest book from Paula Hawkins "Into the Water" and I hated it!

I had my review in my head already - if you didn't like Girl on the Train then you definitely won't like this. At least TGOTT was set in amongst every day life. Whereas this began with what felt like The Crucible - references to others who had drowned in the pool decades ago across the centuries. People hearing voices and some being drawn to the pool - to drown.

I began to wonder whether I should just call it a day - too many characters each with their own chapters - a difficult time recognising who was narrating unless I referred back to the chapter heading - was it worth my time?

Then in part two of the book it turned into a regular detective novel. Why I wondered had there been a need for all the superstition about the pool and suchlike. It was at the end of the day a modern whodunnit. The characters began to be fleshed out and some secrets were outed - I was beginning to understand what was happening.

By the final part of the book I really wanted to know how this book was going to end. How did other happenings in the book fit into Nel drowning.  I got to a few pages before the end and all was made clear - a great ending. However - that was not the ending, characters began to have their own chapter again telling their tale. Wow! it was like a cannonball rushing at you - the real ending........

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars although when I began it was more like 3 out of 5! I marvel at how Paula Hawkins came up with this web of a novel. I ended up revisiting parts of the novel to read what I now realised were glaring clues to the initiated.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Girlfriend - Michelle Frances


She loves your son. She wants your life. How far would you go to protect your son?
Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but hasn’t led Laura’s golden life. And she wants it.
When tragedy strikes, a decision is made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever . . .
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller – the story of a mother, a son, his girlfriend and an unforgivable lie.


I had heard the hype about this book, something that normally makes me avoid a book, but I was intrigued, so decided to read it for myself and I am so glad I did.

It was so refreshing to read a book - just read it, and not try to second guess what was really happening as I usually do. The style of writing and the pace of the book meant that I had no time to try and think ahead, it just drew me in and I was totally absorbed in the tale.

I loved the ordinariness of the book. Day to day life, normal events, someone working in Tesco, but of course with twists. I kept changing camps whilst reading the book. Was I on the side of the mother Laura, or Cherry the girlfriend. Different view points meant you never really felt on either side the whole time. I devoured this book over two days - I really couldn't wait to pick it up again and just get lost in the pages.

If I have one tiny gripe it was at the beginning of the book when a character talked about his pants. Now being British that means underwear, but I think it was the American meaning of trousers that was being referred to. I see now that the author has lived in the USA - I did wonder if she was American. It was the only slip in an otherwise perfect novel.

I loved the ending - my heart was in my mouth. I don't do spoilers so I can't say anymore than that. A sign of a good book for me is when you are still thinking about it. I had a thought pop in my head that maybe I was on a different side than the one I was on at the end of the book. And so it goes on...........

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to more from this author.

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Thousandth Floor - Katherine McGee


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

goodbye, things - fumio sasaki


'There's happiness in having less. If you are anything like how I used to be - miserable, constantly comparing yourself with others, or just believing your life sucks - I think you should try saying goodbye to some of your things'
Fumio Sasaki is a writer in his thirties who lives in a tiny studio in Tokyo with three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and not much else. A few years ago, he realised that owning so much stuff was weighing him down - so he started to get rid of it.
In this hit Japanese bestseller, Sasaki explores the philosophy behind minimalism and offers a set of straightforward rules - discard it if you haven't used it in a year; be a borrower; find your uniform; keep photos of the things you love - that can help all of us lead simpler, happier, more fulfilled lives.


This is the third de-cluttering book I have read and reviewed. But this one is also by a Japanese author as was The Life-changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Where this differes from Marie Kondo is that Marie was from an early age a declutterer, whereas Fumio becomes a minimalist after being a hoarder. This is why I decided to read the book as I thought maybe it would be more realistic to achieve.

Whilst the book has lots of good advice and indeed references the Kondo method several times what Fumio has achieved is so far away from what I think is a practical life. He has so few possessions, instead thinking of shops as his personal stores, so that if ever he needs something, he buys it, there is no need to store it. In fact one item he has given away twice now and has decided if he buys it a third time he will keep it.

I liked the way the chapters were set out in the book. One chapter is "Why did we accumulate so much in the first place?" and another "55 tips to hepp you say goodbye to your things". One of his methods is to photograph possessions so that you will always have a memory of them, you do not need the physical item. 

I have after reading this book I decluttered yet again - but this time more ruthlessly. I have far less items on display - meaning also less dusting. Fumio also says that your brain is working harder when it has more items to look at and process - it's true I do feel lighter now there are fewer things around.

I'm giving this book five out of five stars. Although a lot of it was not relevant to me, if you want to become a minimalist - then this is the book for you.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tattletale - Sarah J Naughton


Friday, 1 September 2017

Here and Gone - Haylen Beck

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Dream Keeper's Daughter - Emily Colin

A woman discovers an impossible connection that transcends time and place in this stirring, unforgettable novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Thief.
"A splendid mix of time travel, romantic yearning, and moving on after grief."--Publishers Weekly
Isabel Griffin has done her best to move on since her boyfriend, Max Adair, vanished without a trace eight years ago, leaving her heartbroken--and pregnant. Eerily enough, this isn't the first time someone Isabel loves has gone missing. When she was sixteen, her mother disappeared, and her father became obsessed with finding his long-lost wife--at the expense of parenting Isabel.
Determined not to repeat her father's mistakes, Isabel works hard to become a respected archaeologist and a loving mother to her daughter, Finn, a little girl with very unusual abilities. But while Isabel is on a dig in Barbados, she receives a disturbing phone call. The hauntingly familiar voice on the other end speaks just four words--"Isabel. Keep her safe."--before they're disconnected.
Isabel tries to convince herself that the caller can't possibly be Max. But what if it is, and Finn is in danger? As one mysterious event after another occurs, she can't shake the feeling that, despite what everyone else believes, Finn's father is alive--and he's desperately trying to reach her.
If you've read my review before you will know I love time travel. I have read most of the books out there and so when I came across this one for review I was immediately attracted to it. 
As a premise I think the writer has hit on a twist that I haven't come across in time travel novels before, but it took too long to get to it. Once I did get to the part that contained the time travel I read it with relish. I loved every moment of it, the writer transported me back in time and I was fearful for what would become of Max Adair. How would someone from the present day fit in and act in a strange land.
Meanwhile the "Dreamkeeper's daughter" aspect came into play. Was Finn really communicating with her Grandmother and Father or are they just dreams? This aspect of the book and the character of Finn was tauntingly enticing but it never really got fully explored to its full potential.
Once the time travel aspect of the novel came to an end I was surprised that the book carried on for about another 100 pages. Again this was a different take on a storyline - what happens after people who have time travelled come back to the present day? How are things going to pan out for them?
Although I loved the time travel aspect of this book there were too many words to get to it and too many after it when I just wanted to know how it ended. I feel the story could have been told a little more concisely for my liking. 
I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for a copy of this book for review.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

31 Days of Wonder - Tom Winter


Monday, 7 August 2017

Little Gray Dress - Aimee Brown

Little Gray Dress by [Brown, Aimee]

I'm really pleased to be a part of the blog tour today for Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown. You can see a trailer for the book on Youtube.


Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan's wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid's dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she's wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon's bar, things get more complicated. He's gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn't need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi's adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?


I'm going to say right off that I loved this book so much. For a debut author this book is just fantastic and I can't wait to read more by Aimee.

So- why did I love it so much. Well it is very funny and yet the characters have such depth that I ended up caring so much about them. So much so that I did actually shed a little tear at one point. Not something I usually do over this genre.

Aimee's writing is so easy to read, the words just flow off the page and it just feels like a bubbly friend telling you the latest tale.

The book leads us through the current day of Emi preparing to attend her brothers wedding. Slowly we begin to learn that there is going be a guest there that she would rather not see. It's Jack her ex-fiance and through flashbacks we learn why he became her ex. 

I was a little horrified by the actions of Jack and was routing for the new guy Liam to be the love interest. But slowly facts from the past unfold and maybe everything is not the way it seems on the surface. 

If you loved the film Bridesmaids then you will probably love this book too. Finally The Little Gray dress - well it makes appearances throughout the book!

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. Waiting for the next book Aimee.